Saquon Barkley has been all smiles around the Giants this preseason but that disposition has increasingly leaned more toward a snarl whenever he interacts with the outside world. The latest example of edgy attitude from the running back came on a recently-aired podcast (albeit one that was recorded about a month ago before training camp had even started) in which he expressed his fiery desire to outperform his past accomplishments and silence his critics.
"Last year was more like, ‘Dang, the game was taken away from me,” he said on the “2nd Wind” podcast. “I never had a season where I didn’t go and play football. Now, it’s a kill mindset. Now it’s like, you know what? [Expletive] everybody. I’m ready to go crazy and I’m going to let the world feel me."
Last week in a media availability Barkley fired back at those who have critiqued him over the years about his propensity to “dance” in the backfield rather than hit the holes straight on, and during the offseason Barkley challenged his doubters to “stay on that side of the table” when he comes back at full strength.
It’s as if this season is being staged for Barkley vs. The Universe. It certainly seems as if that’s a matchup Barkley intends on winning.
Giants coach Brian Daboll, who is only just learning how competitive Barkley can be, said he doesn’t mind if a player uses snubs and slights — perceived or otherwise — to get himself hyped up.
“I think you try to learn your players the best you can to motivate them,” Daboll said. “Sometimes players can motivate themselves in certain, different ways. I think that’s good. Each player is different. What motivates you might be different than what motivates me. So, I kind of let those guys be themselves and if something’s on their mind, and that’s motivating them, great.”
Notes & quotes: While most of the medical news Wednesday was good — C Jon Feliciano, G Jamil Douglas, G Joshua Ezeudu and DL Leonard Williams all returned to practice after missing time with injuries — there was one glaring bummer. WR Collin Johnson who had played himself into an important role in the offense this summer tore his right Achilles and was carted off the field. The 6-6 third-year player was lined up to run a route when his wheels spun in the grass and he collapsed face first in pain without any contact from another player . . . K Graham Gano remains in the concussion protocol but was on the field Wednesday kicking on the side and should be cleared to play in Sunday’s preseason game against the Jets . . . Rookie S Dane Belton who fractured his collarbone early in camp was running on the side with trainers for the first time since his injury. . . . ... The Giants were awarded three players off waivers: CB Harrison Hand (Vikings), WR Jaylon Moore (Ravens) and WR Bailey Gaither (Ravens). To make room they placed Johnson on IR along with WR Marcus Kemp and cut TE Jordan Akins.